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2023 Athletics Season in Review: Shea Langeliers

Langeliers impressed in his first full season behind the dish, and he looks to have all the makings of a solid two-way catcher going forward.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Shea Langeliers' 2023 season was his second with the A’s, but the first season in which the catching duties ran through him after Sean Murphy was traded before the season. The former top prospect with the Atlanta Braves took the opportunity and ran with it putting together a solid 2023, but consistency and better strikeout numbers will be the key for him going forward.

How Acquired

Langeliers was acquired on March 14, 2022, in a trade that brought him, CF Cristian Pache, RHP Ryan Cusick, and RHP Joey Estes to Oakland in exchange for 1B Matt Olson to the Braves.

What were the expectations?

With Murphy also being traded to the Braves before the 2023 season, Langeliers, a former top draft pick and prospect, was expected to get his first full season of chances as a starting catcher at the MLB level with the A’s.

2023 Results

Langeliers showed the potential of the offensive-minded catcher that he is, but with that also came plenty of struggles at the big-league level. The power numbers were there; Langeliers slapped 22 home runs, 19 doubles, and 63 RBIs in 2023. He struggled to hit for average with a .205 mark in 448 at-bats, and he also struck out 143 times compared to just 34 walks. Langeliers also showed some athleticism at the plate and on the base paths legging out four triples in 2023.

While Langeliers' bat was sporadic, the same can somewhat be said about his defense. He caught 38 men stealing on the base paths and 31.1% of all runners total which were both amongst the MLB lead in just his first full season behind the dish. Ten errors and seven passed balls were also up there amongst league leaders as Langeliers had a 0.3 defensive WAR in 2023. Like his bat, the glimpses are definitely there but his consistency will need to improve going forward but for a first-year catcher, these problems seem understandable.

What went right? What went wrong?

As mentioned before, all the tools for Langeliers to be a solid two-way catcher looked present at times in 2023. His HardHit % is 8% above the MLB average, as Langeliers was amongst the MLB lead in home runs and RBIs for a catcher, a position that’s lacked offensive prowess as of lately. Also, the A’s led the MLB in caught stealing percentage at 31% in 2023, higher than teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks that are known to have elite defensive catchers like Adley Rutschman and Gabriel Moreno. Langeliers accounted for most of those caught stealing. Langeliers also just looked the part of a solid MLB everyday catcher going yard off elite pitchers like Kodai Senga, Jacob DeGrom, and Shohei Ohtani while also hitting a 456-foot home run midseason.

The biggest thing that went wrong for Langeliers in 2023 were his strikeouts and swing-and-miss problems. The total of 143 strikeouts placed him 18th in the American League, and he doesn’t walk a whole lot to balance it out. Langeliers hit just .178 on breaking balls and .194 on offspeed while having a whiff rate of 37% and 39.5% respectively for both. Against curveballs, Langeliers hit .081 while striking out 44.7% of the time. When Langeliers wasn’t getting himself out via strikeout, he was more than likely under the ball. An Under % of 32.3 is nearly 10% above the MLB average and a fly ball % of 29.6 is 6% above the MLB average.

2024 Outlook

For all the holes and questions surrounding the A’s heading into 2024, one of the only positions that seem solidified is at catcher with Langeliers. Rumors of acquiring a backup catcher after their other top-catching prospect, Tyler Soderstrom, struggled in 2023 have been swirling, but the position will be all Langeliers until he proves not. Expect the former ninth overall pick to build off last season both offensively and defensively in 2024 as Langeliers continues to become the franchise catcher he’s been sought out to be.